Vocalo goes for the heart of Hispanic audience
High levels of radio activity:
- With the announced acquisition of WRTE-FM (90.5), Chicago Public Media hopes to expand its service to the city’s Hispanic population and add substantial Spanish-language programming to its Vocalo community-based radio franchise. The 73-watt noncommercial station has been an outlet for Radio Arte bilingual programming and youth training. (Vocalo managing director Silvia Rivera got her start in Radio Arte’s media training program.) In a sign of Chicago Public Media’s renewed prosperity, CEO Torey Malatia achieved the $450,000 purchase — including $300,000 in cash and $150,000 in promotion and sponsorships — without cutbacks at WBEZ-FM (91.5) or elsewhere. The financially troubled National Museum of Mexican Art, which has owned WRTE since 1996, will retain the programming and facilities of Radio Arte. Pending government approval, the deal secures a broadcast outlet for Vocalo in the heart of the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods. Said Daniel Ash, vice president of strategic communications: “We wanted the Vocalo brand to have a central-city urban audience, and we get that with ’RTE.”
- In another shift for Spanish-language radio, Chicago now has a third Regional Mexican music station. With the switch last week of WNUA-FM (95.5) from Spanish contemporary-hit Mega 95.5 to El Patron 95.5, the Clear Channel outlet takes aim at Univision Radio’s WOJO-FM (105.1) and Spanish Broadcasting System’s WLEY-FM (107.9). “WNUA has been playing Regional Mexican music as a part of our music mix so this move simply completes our evolution,” a Clear Channel spokeswoman said. “Our new name and positioning statement better reflect the music and attitude of the radio station.” The move follows Clear Channel’s recent launch of Chicago’s first Spanish FM sports station on low-power 97.5 ESPN Deportes.
- In case you missed it (and judging by the ratings you probably did), Merlin Media has installed Greg Jarrett as morning anchor alongside Monica DeSantis at WIQI-FM (101.1). Yep, that’s the same Greg Jarrett who failed as morning host at Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720). In both cases, Jarrett’s patron was Randy Michaels, who continues to stumble around in search of a format for FM News 101.1. Another familiar figure just landed at Merlin Media is Pat Kelley, who signed on as director of sales. He most recently managed smooth jazz WLFM, which Merlin now leases and programs as alternative rock WKQX-LP (87.7). Here’s wishing Kelley good luck in his new job. The last guy gave up after eight months.
- Though ballyhooed by CBS (“This is a great day for CBS Radio and sports fans nationwide,” declared president and CEO Dan Mason), the formation of a new sports radio network with Cumulus Media is not expected to have much impact here. Starting in September, CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR-AM (670) will air hourly network sports updates — and that could be it. Once the full network is up and running in January, programming from the Score will be made available to other affiliates.
- Friends are rallying around Carole Nolan, 80, the former schoolteacher who became general manager of WBEZ and led the public radio station for 25 years. She’s in hospice care at her home. Nolan joined WBEZ in 1971 when the station was owned by the Chicago Board of Education. At the time, it broadcast only five hours a day, including such programs as Uncle Dan From Froggy Hollow, The Singing Songlady and march music.